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  • Writer's pictureChester B Simpson

That time I joined Siouxsie & The Banshees

Updated: Apr 17, 2022

He started complimenting the band about last night’s show and said my guitar playing really amazed him.

I first met John McGeoch, the guitarist with Siouxsie & The Banshees on Nov. 26, 1980, backstage at California Hall in San Francisco. I was on assignment for NME, and I requested a group photo before they performed. Things were crazy since the band was about to go on stage, Siouxsie preferred we do the photos after the show. I agreed and followed them out on stage to photograph the concert. What an amazing concert that was and after the show, I met John and he suggested that I meet the band for breakfast at their hotel the next day, which was two blocks from my apartment.

I showed up 20 minutes early the next day, introduced myself to the band, and sat beside John. A young college journalist came in to interview the band with his tape recorder and mistook me for one of the band members. He started complimenting the band about last night’s show and said my guitar playing really amazed him. I said, “That wasn’t me” … but John laughed and suggested that I take credit for all my hard work. We all laughed, and the journalist never knew I wasn’t in the band.

After breakfast, I got my group photo of the band and they left.

On Oct. 12, 1981, Siouxsie & The Banshees returned to the I-Beam in SF where I reconnected with John, and we had a good laugh. I suggested to John and the Band that the next day we’d take a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and do a photo session at the Battery Spencer the old military bunker with a great view of the bridge and San Francisco.

It was a wonderful day to be a tourist. The band enjoyed the photo session, and the view was speculator as always. One of the photos became the Back endpaper photo is in his book.

The last time I saw John was in Washington, DC when he was on tour with PIL and the Beastie Boys, who opened for them. I was photographing John and John Lydon jumped into the spotlight and made face and I got a great shot. One of those images was featured in his book.

The Light Pours Out of Me

The Light Pours Out of Me is the authorized biography of seminal post-punk guitarist John McGeoch by Rory Sullivan-Burke, published by Omnibus Press on the 28th of April 2022.

Check out my photographs from this story: Siouxsie and the Banshees Gallery

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